Colorectal cancer screening guidelines have changed: What you need to know

Released: 08/03/18

Caroline Schwickerath, D.O., Mayo Clinic Health System general surgeon at Winneshiek Medical Center.

The American Cancer Society has released new guidelines for colorectal cancer screening. Summarized, the new guidelines recommend:

  • Adults ages 45 (reduced from age 50) and older with an average risk of colorectal cancer should undergo regular screening with either a high-sensitivity stool-based test or a structural (visual) exam, depending on patient preference and test availability.
  • As a part of the screening process, all positive results on non-colonoscopy screening tests should be followed up with timely colonoscopy.
  • Average-risk adults in good health with a life expectancy of greater than 10 years should continue colorectal cancer screening through age 75.

Caroline Schwickerath, D.O., Mayo Clinic Health System general surgeon at Winneshiek Medical Center says, “Across the nation, colorectal cancer cases are increasing in younger patients. With such effective screening tools available to detect and treat colorectal cancer, I fully support the American Cancer Society’s recommendation to reduce the screening age to 45. It will save more lives of those we love.”

Colorectal cancer is the second most deadly cancer for both men and women. Yet according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, most of these deaths could be prevented if everyone over the recommended age (now age 45) got screened for colorectal cancer. Because there are often no signs or symptoms, the best way to prevent colorectal cancer is to get screened. If left undiagnosed or undetected, colorectal cancer can spread throughout the body.

Make an appointment with your Mayo Clinic Health System doctor at Winneshiek Medical Center to discuss your screening options for colorectal cancer. Call today for an appointment 563-382-2911.

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